Two of the parties in the bizarre case had representation. George Roden had an attorney to speak for him. The eight members of the Branch Davidians, charged with attempted murder of Roden, had their counsel.
Who spoke for Anna Hughes?
Anna Hughes was a grandmother who was granted eternal rest in 1968. Yet this week the casket bearing her remains has been the focus of a sick sideshow that disgraced the McLennan County Courthouse.
The defendants in the trial hauled the unearthed casket into the courthouse to have it admitted as evidence. They claim they were seeking evidence of corpse abuse when gunfire erupted on the property of so-called Rodenville in 1987.
The casket should never been allowed up the steps. County Judge Raymond Matkin acted properly in ordering its removal. Judge Herman Fitts ruled that the casket and the corpse were inadmissible as evidence in this trial.
How and why the casket was out of the ground should be a matter of another court to decide. Roden, who claims to be the messiah, has said he tried to resurrect the body.
The idea of a person’s remains being disturbed for ritual’s sake and then becoming a focus of a family feud is a sickening affront to this society’s sense of decency. It is repugnant that county property would provide a stage for the latest twist in the melodrama.
The district attorney should determine if there is grounds to pursue the charge of abuse of a corpse. If the jury must view evidence of that nature, jurors should be taken to the alleged scene of the crime. The courthouse shouldn’t have been a setting for this sad procession.
The episode should leave the community with heads bowed. Who should speak for the dead? All civilized people should. It is hoped that soon Anna Hughes can be returned to a dignified resting place, never again to be disturbed.